Masters of the Piano – Sun-Ah Kim plays Mozart, Liszt and Beethoven
The Republic of Korean pianist Sun-Ah Kim and former student of Chiang
Mai Music Festival Co-Founder, Professor Tong-Il Han, delighted a packed
salon at the home of Anne and Kazuyoshi Murase, the two other co-founders of
the Chiang Mai Music Festival on Friday February 26th.
What a radiant and sparkling performance she gave. Opening with the often
sad and nostalgic Rondo in A minor K 511 by Mozart written in March 1787,
the audience was treated to a profoundly deep understanding of this
wonderful piece of music. Sun-Ah brought out the despair and despondency
that Mozart admitted feeling at that time in his life, but she also managed
to inject several rays of sunshine and hope into the lighter passages
between the Rondo’s gloomier A minor opening theme. Better was yet to come.
Sun-Ah enthralled the crowd with wonderfully sensitive interpretations of
Liszt’s transcriptions of songs by Schumann (Widmung) and Schubert (Fruhlingsglaube).
Here Sun-Ah extracted a glowing sensation from the melodies of these pieces,
while demonstrating her agility and total command of the keyboard in the
accompanying arpeggios and dotted rhythms on the left hand.
Korean pianist Sun-Ah Kim offered
an ardent and impeccable performance of Mozart, Schubert-Liszt, Schumann-Liszt,
and Beethoven before returning to Seoul for another year as university
teacher and performing artist.
The short recital ended with a stunning performance of
the Beethoven Opus 110 piano Sonata in A flat. Written as part of a trio of
sonatas in the early 1820’s, these three are the final piano sonatas
Beethoven wrote some 5 years before his death. In the middle of writing the
Opus 110 Beethoven was taken ill with a severe attack of jaundice, the
illness which was later to claim his life along with other liver-based
complications. Sun-Ah managed the tricky task of balancing the despair and
gloom in parts with the radiance and joy in others, no more so than in her
interpretation of the final movement which was characterized by playing that
was determined, powerful and deliriously optimistic. Once again her command
of the keyboard was startling, especially as she was suffering from hand
strain, completely unnoticeable to the audience.
The intimate atmosphere in the music salon of the Murase
home was a perfect setting for an artiste such as Sun-Ah who rose to the
occasion by giving the audience a performance full of deep musical
expression but without the heaviness that could so easily have overwhelmed
the people there. This deeper understanding of salon performance and
composers intentions by Sun-Ah combined to provide a first class and
memorable evening. This recital was one of half a dozen promoted by the
Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival, with more exciting events to
follow in March, June, July and in the autumn.
Retiring in Chiang Mai
Although there are many retirees in Chiang Mai it has
been lacking in quality senior care. For those retiring in Chiang Mai and
concerned about their future, or for those who wish to bring their parents
or elderly relatives here for care, Dok Kaew Gardens is certainly worth
One of the things that has always been of concern for
those living in Thailand is where to go when they begin to need help.
Whether for a short time or permanently, the new residential facility is now
available 6 km south of the city.. Located at McKean Hospital, its been open
since November 2009.
Dok Kaew Gardens is made up of three inter-connected
buildings: Lotus Wing, Jasmine Wing and Dok Kaew Center with 25 rooms
available in total. Each bedroom is fully furnished with air conditioning
and a private handicap accessible bathroom with hot water. Emergency call
lights located in all bedrooms and bathrooms can summon help 24 hours a day.
Security cameras monitor common rooms and walkways. There are smoke alarms
in every room to ensure fire safety.
The Jasmine Wing offers specialized care for those
needing increased assistance or the mobile senior with dementia. An
important factor for those coping with mobile seniors with senile dementia,
entry and exit doors are secured and staff numbers reflect the increased
demands of those residents that require 24 hour attention.
With meals, a beauty salon with masseuse and a library
with a computer, there is quite a bit here to offer those in need of
assisted living. Rooms also offer wifi connections. For those requiring
physical or occupational therapy, McKean’s highly regarded rehabilitation
room is a short wheelchair ride away.
For more information or to arrange a visit, contact Beth
Roadarmel (English) or Achaan Trairut (Thai) at 053-124-430 or 053-124-263
ext.139. E-mail [email protected] mckeanhosp.org . Further information can also be
found at their website: www. mckeanhosp.org.
A Musical Treat from Ajaan Santi and Students
On Saturday March 6th Santi Saengthong, head of the
Santi School of Music, and nine of his students provided a
select audience with a delightful selection of piano music
including works by Mozart, Chopin and Schubert. The venue for
the occasion was the increasingly popular and intimate music
salon at the home of Anne and Kazuyoshi Murase at Ban Wangtan.
This wonderful room with its tasteful d้cor, subdued lighting,
exquisite furnishings and uniquely intimate atmosphere provided
a perfect setting for these pieces by such well-known classic
and romantic composers. The students had all spent hours in
rehearsals and it was gratifying for them to be able to perform
in front of their teachers and parents. A number of guests from
the community and Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival
brought the numbers up to a reasonable size. The young
performers, aged from 10 to 17 performed extremely well, some of
them finding the trickier passages hard to cope with, but with
determination and perseverance, treating the audience to a
display of musical talent in a most professional manner.
Santi himself played the piano in three of the chosen
pieces, the highlight being Schubert’s great classical-romantic Fantasy in F
minor, composed a few months before his death in 1828 and written for four
hands on one piano. On March 1st two hundred years ago,
Frederic Chopin was born in Poland and the young upcoming musicians
performed three of his pieces with style and panache. How astonished Chopin
would have been if he could have seen and heard his marvelous music being
played with such promise in the centre of northern Thailand, a country whose
name, during his lifetime, he had probably never heard! Mozart, that
inimitable genius of a composer was also represented with three pieces,
including the wonderful set of twelve variations on the song “Ah, vous
desirai-je maman’, better known in the English version as ‘Twinkle, twinkle
little star’. The evening ended with a marvelous arrangement of the jazz
favourite ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Joseph Kosma, a French composer who wrote a lot
of film music in the middle of the last century, this song coming from the
score of one such film and now a universal success.
What a lovely evening this was – to witness young people
displaying their piano skills in these beautiful surroundings to an
appreciative audience. Chiang Mai has some great potential talent among its
musical students. This newspaper recently reported that the Santi School of
Music was a very good school, providing very good value for money with very
good teaching and learning. That was certainly reinforced by the performance
of the students who, along with their dedicated and hard-working teachers,
deserved all the praise and the recognition that the audience had no
hesitation in giving them.
The National Elephant Hospital in Lampang suffers budget shortfall
The National Elephant Hospital at the Thai Elephant
Conservation Centre (TECC) in Lampang was established under Royal Patronage
and continues to be a beacon of hope for ailing and elderly elephants in
Thailand. A symbol of the nation and the Royal Family, Thailand’s elephants
require help. The National Elephant Hospital provides free veterinary
services not only to the elephants at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre,
but also to elephants from neighbouring provinces. Veterinarians also travel
to treat sick or injured animals unable to be moved, even in remote areas.
According to the TECC there were over 100,000
domesticated elephants working in Thailand at the beginning of the 20th
century. Elephants were originally found throughout the countryespecially in
the north of Thailand where there were abundant teak forests and the
elephants were used to haul teak logs. As of 2007 there were 3,456
domesticated elephants in Thailand and the population seems to be stable.
The British first used elephants for logging in the late
1800s and a young elephant training program was instituted in 1969 in
Lampang to train elephants in logging. However, over logging and
deforestation resulted in a ban of teak logging, throwing Thailand’s
thousands of domesticated elephants out of work in 1989. Many elephants
ended up on the streets with their owners, while others ended up in tourist
The Forest Industry Organization of Thailand established
the TECC in 1992 and with it a hospital, Mobile Elephant Clinic (MEC),
reintroduction of plantations of elephant food, the Last Home for Elephants
and an elephant show for tourists. The National Elephant Hospital officially
opened in 2002 and treats ailing elephants around the North. While they do
have a small budget from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,
it survives on public donations, help from the RSPCA Thailand and other
Their veterinarians log 70,000 km a year, travelling to
treat elephants in the region. Most commonly seen ailments include abscesses
caused by harnesses, wounds around the ears and feet caused by controlling
equipment, tail wounds from bites by other elephants and most commonly,
gastro-intestinal problems associated with improper feeding or contaminated
Due to budget shortfalls this year, the National Elephant
Hospital has had to appeal for help from the public. For those wishing to
help this noble animal and the hospital that treats them you can contact
Dr.Sittidej Mahasavangkul of the Elephant Hospital, Thai Elephant
Conservation Center email [email protected] com or by phone: 081 884 5834 -
he speaks English. If you wish to make a donation please do so at the Krung
Thai Bank, Pratu Chai Branch. Account number 536 1 555 959, the account name
is Elephant Hospital, Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Help these doctors
make a difference.
Frederic Chopin born March 1st 1810
This month is the 200th anniversary of the birth
of one of the greatest composers of piano music who ever lived. Frederic
Chopin was born on March 1st 1810 in Zelazowa Wola
fifty kilometres west of Warsaw in Poland. He was described in his youth as
a potential genius by teachers, and he eventually began to use his intimate
knowledge and inspiration to compose music of the highest order, largely for
the piano. In September 1831 when he was just over 20 years old he arrived
in Paris unsure of whether to settle there or not. He undertook further
lessons in the city and gave his first French concert in 1832 which was
reviewed as “an extravagance of original ideas that are unexampled anywhere”.
However, Chopin had a light-handed touch and he soon realized that his
performances were unsuitable for large concert halls; instead he became the
pianist of the salons, meeting and forming friendships with other composers
such as Berlioz, Liszt, Bellini and Mendelssohn. He lived in quite
substantial apartments where many of his compositions were first performed.
As well as inventing pieces with titles such as Nocturne, Etude or Polonaise,
he also instigated the notion of ‘salon music’, music played to groups of
around twenty people in the more intimate surroundings of his apartment.
These social gatherings were later to develop into very important outlets
for other composers, especially names like Saint-Saens, Ravel, Debussy and
Faure. He eventually settled in the Place Vendome four months before his
premature death from tuberculosis at age 39.
The Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival are proud to
be part of the Chopin celebrations taking place all over the world this year
and they have re-created that very intimate and unique atmosphere of the
music salon in the home of Anne and Kazuyoshi Murase at Ban Wangtan. Here
frequent recitals are held that are very similar to those initiated by
Chopin in Paris in the early 1830s. On Friday March 19th
the celebrated Japanese pianist Yoko Kakishita, who has already delighted
audiences here in Chiang Mai on a previous occasion, will come to the salon
to perform all the Chopin Preludes and one of his Fantasies. The preludes
were published in 1839 and dedicated to the lesser known composer of piano
studies Joseph Christoph Kessler, who had some ten years earlier dedicated a
similar set of 24 preludes to Chopin and the more famous composer Hummel.
The preludes were commissioned by the famous piano maker and publisher,
Camille Pleyel (of Salle Pleyel fame); they were written between 1935 and
1839 partly at the Majorca town of Valldemossa where Chopin had fled with
his girl-friend George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris
Seats at 250 baht per person are strictly limited for this rare
opportunity to hear Chopin’s music in this unique setting and can be
reserved in advance only from Anne Murase on 087 181 1417 anytime this week
or from Khun JP on 084 868 1017 on Thursday evening the 18th
March or anytime on Friday morning March 19th.
Sleeping Beauty in aid of the Thai Red Cross
Chiang Mai residents are in for a special threat, on the occasion of
H.M. the King’s 83rd birthday this year, Thai Airways
Intl, the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy and the Charity Committee have organized
the 8th Annual Charity Ballet; Sleeping Beauty 2010 to
be at Kad Theatre one day only, March 28, for two shows, one at 1:30 PM and
the final show at 7 PM.
Performers from the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy
This event of the season is not to be missed, with
gorgeous costumes and wonderful dancing, the play will not only re-enact
Sleeping Beauty with principal dancers that have one awards on three
continents, but Ballet Academy students performing as well. Not only
classical Tschaikovsky will be performed but modern styles of dance as well,
from flamenco, to hip hop and modern.
Mom Luang Preeyapun Sridhavat, winner of the Asia Pacific
Inspired Woman Award in Art Category 2002 from Singapore is the Artistic
Director. Tickets are on sale at Rimping Supermarkets, Kad Suan Kaew and
Chiang Mai Ballet Academy Tel 089-6352586, 089-7885307 and 053-260373.
All proceeds of one of the biggest charity events of the
season go to Friends in Need (Of “PA”) Volunteers Foundation, Thai Red Cross
Society; a foundation under the initiative of HRH Princess Pacharakitiyapa,
to be used for disaster relief and for improving the life of people in local
Thai Airways International is offering round trip tickets
from Chiang Mai to Bangkok as door prizes .Audiences are encouraged to dress
up in pink for the show since pink is regarded as the color to offer H.M.
the King best wishes for good health.Best pink outfits will win special
prizes at the end of the show. For more info, please contact. 081-8811114.
By The Computer Quack
“You have won the lottery”. By now, you have probably
received at least one email telling you this good news, and hopefully you’ve
realized that in order to win a lottery, you generally have to have
purchased a ticket! This is just one example of what is known as Advance Fee
The crooks, who generally hail from Africa or organized
crime gangs in Eastern Europe, are just waiting for your reply. They will
then engage you in a friendly conversation, before requesting a nominal $25
“bank processing” fee or something similar. And that is how they make their
money. You send $25 dollars and wave goodbye to it, and if thousands of
people do this (which they do), the criminals can settle down and live a
happy and carefree life – with your money.
Another example of the is the “Urgent” email you receive
telling you that someone has died and left $25 Million in a bank account,
and asking you if the person concerned can use your bank account to spirit
the money out of the country. Oh, and naturally, if you are kind enough to
do so, you can keep $5 Million of it for yourself. A very tempting offer? If
it was real, maybe yes.
Until, that is, the person on the other end tells you
they need a few hundred dollars in cash to bribe a bank official to turn a
blind eye. Then there is that “Executive Account Manager” who wants a hand
out. But a few hundred dollars when you are looking at $5 Million? It can be
sorely tempting until you realize you are being conned.
More recently, emails are going out to people asking them
to be “Corporate Financial Officers” or the like on behalf of an overseas
company. This one sounds even more promising: All they want to do is put
money in YOUR bank account, and ask you to pay it in cash to someone else,
keeping a percentage for yourself. And it can happen; days after you provide
the banking details, a few thousand dollars will appear in your account.
What they don’t tell you is that this money has just been
stolen from someone else’s bank account (maybe because spyware sent their
Internet Banking username and password to the crooks), and they are using
you to quickly change it into fast, untraceable cash. No surprise that they
want you to use Western Union to pay the cash out at some exotic location
like Bulgaria or Nigeria!
Scams such as these should be avoided like the plague.
When you participate in such schemes, you are actually money laundering, and
this will earn you a not-so-cheerful visit from law enforcement officers.
The general principle when reading emails is to use
common sense, and remember the old saying: “If it looks too good to be true,
it probably is”.
One final version of the email scam, which seems to be
increasing recently, is the “fantastic job offer”.
Again, the idea is to offer you a highly paid, senior
position in an overseas company. The catch? The $25 “employment facilitation
fee” that you have to pay to process your application.
And let’s not forget with any of the above, you are
actually providing valuable personal information to professional (and often
well organized) thieves and criminal gangs. They can use this information to
change your bank details, obtain cheque books and ATM cards in your name and
run up thousands of Dinars (or it could be dollars, pounds or baht for that
matter) in debt using your name.
Identity Theft is a common and rarely prosecuted crime
nowadays, and it is important that you keep this personal information